Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Presence and Intimacy

 Perfection Is Being Fully Engaged In The Present Moment

Most people desire intimacy strongly, even if it scares them. Connection to others is a basic human need. We are all capable of deeply connecting with another, but life sometimes gets in the way of maintaining a close connection.  Why? Because we are off thinking and we can't connect if we aren't in the Here and now.
Intimacy requires presence. If you aren't there with someone you can't possibly have intimacy. This seems like common sense, but what does it truly mean to be present?
To be truly present is to be engaging with life in the now moment. That means you aren't distracted by thoughts of how things happened in the past or how you want them to turn out in the future. While being present is the only way that we're fully alive and connected to others, it is our biggest challenge to remain grounded in the moment.
There are so many benefits to being present and grounded. People love to be around you. You're fully listening to another speak, focused on their words, their body language and their tone when you're present. This enables you to follow along, feel what they are feeling and see things from their position. This feels infinitely better than being focused on what you're going to say when they pause, you're present. The other person feels unheard and they complain that, "you don't listen". You're feeling the pleasure of someone's touch, smelling the sweetness of their skin and tasting their lips. The full awareness of these pleasures makes sex great. Thinking of what you're going to make for dinner during the act doesn't really add much to the experience.
I could go on and on and the moral of every example would be the same, you're engaging and connecting with others and with life itself when you're present and you're not really alive or connected to anything when you're not.
We've all had moments when we feel fully alive. These are the moments that we're present. In my life, I would like to be fully present, connected and engaged 100% of the time. To get there however, is a moment by moment practice. Here are some things that I do (whenever i remember) to be present.

  • When another is speaking, I listen as if it's the most important thing that I could ever know. I hear every word, even if that means repeating it in my head and asking questions to clarify. 
  • I maintain eye contact. I look people in the eyes, not only when we're talking, but also just to smile at them or even just to make a quick non-verbal connection. 
  • I enjoy my sensory world. I gaze at the beautiful sunset, smell flowers I walk by, squeeze my children for more than just a second, play with my man's hair and feel how soft it is in my hands and listen deeply to music. Whatever is going on right now, what does it feel/taste/smell/sound/look like? Enjoy the pleasure of your body's connection to the physical world. 
  • I allow emotions to be whatever they are and I simply experience them. There's this misconception out there that being present is always pleasant and that just isn't so.  Sometimes things in the present moment really suck, but escape only delays the inevitable. It squishes the feelings down for now, but they need to be acknowledged, so they'll only intensify until you pay attention. 
  • I notice my hands.  This was actually a technique I learned to become more lucid during a dream, but it works wonders for being more lucid in waking life as well. Simply party attention to what your hands are doing and what they feel like and it will bring you into the moment. 
  • Notice what you like and appreciate about what's around you. What's most pleasant?
  • Tell yourself that you intend to be present. If I feel like I'm off thinking, I'll say to myself, "I am right here, right now".
  • Meditate. Give yourself 10-15 minutes a day to just silently observe your breath, your thoughts, your body and anything else that's going on within you or around you.  This is time at aside to intentionally just notice the present. 
  • Affirm to yourself that you live in the present. Pretend to be present, tell others that you're very good at being present most of the time and tell yourself that you're present, even if you don't believe it yet.
  • Set aside 20 minutes a day to daydream. This time is kind of like a reward for myself for being present. I allow myself this specific time to indulge in thoughts of regret over past events, hopes for the future and how I wish things were different. I tell myself that this is the only time i allow myself to be off thinking.  Interestingly enough, when I'm actually trying to do this, not many thoughts come and sometimes I even have to quit before the 20 minutes is done.  Guess it's true, what you embrace, you erase. 
So, those are a few of my methods for bringing myself to the present moment. Do you have any that work well for you?

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